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Dordogne, France

Visit stunning gardens in the Dordogne for a beautiful day out

Posted by Luci Ackers on Jun 30, 2016
Visit stunning gardens in the Dordogne for a beautiful day out

When travelling down to Constant in the Dordogne, the pristine gardens at Manoir d'Eyrignac are a fantastic sight.

More than 500 years old and owned by the same family for over 22 generations, the manor is home to an elaborate garden made almost entirely of topiaries, clipped box plants and patterned hedges.

Manoir d'Eyrignac is situated just to the north of Sarlat in the heart of the Dordogne, roughly an hour and 20 minutes from Constant. The manoir was built in the 17th century by Antoine de Costes de la Calprenède on the ruins of a pre-existing noble house that had been burned down during war. In the 18th century Louis-Antoine Gabriel de la Calprenède, the great grandson of Antoine, created the first proper gardens of the estate, drawing inspiration from the Italian Renaissance style that was so popular at the time.

Over the ensuing years the gardens inevitably changed with the fashions and desires of their owners. It was Gilles Sermadiras who, in the 1960s, decided to revert his gardens back to their original splendour and sought to re-create the 18th century design. Today a pavilion, fountains and basins remain from the original 18th century gardens and the rest has been lovingly crafted to match and blend with the original.

At the centre of this protected 500 acre estate, the manoir sits atop a hill, and its splendid gardens span around it. There are seven different sections to explore ranging from a flower and vegetable garden, to a Chinese Pagoda garden to the precise and perfect topiary garden.

As you enter you'll pass the ticket office (or you can buy online here) and into the gardens where you'll walk the beautiful journey through each of the contrasting areas. There's something interesting around every corner and your senses will be on high alert with the range of smells and colours that greet you. Each garden has its individual theme, but they merge seamlessly and are complemented by the outlying parkland. It's a very relaxing place.

The gardens require a huge amount of upkeep. And the flawless box hedges are a continual theme throughout, with the topiary laid in exact and precise designs. Thanks to seven springs that feed into the garden, there are lovely water features too, including ponds and fountains.

The garden is listed by the Committee of Parks and Gardens of the French Ministry of Culture. It is a protected and beautiful area and well worth a visit. The restaurant on site provides a great little spot for lunch or for afternoon tea and cake.

The gardens are open between March and October and the price for one adult is €12.50. You can choose to wander at your own leisure, you can grab an audio guide for a self-guided tour or you can even book for a private tour. All booking information can be found on the website here.

The gardens are located just north of Sarlat off the D47 and are reasonably well signposted. 

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Luci Ackers
Author: Luci Ackers

Luci loves getting out and about for a good cycle ride or easy-going walks in the countryside, and thoroughly enjoyed the time she previously spent working for the National Trust. Her love of writing started from a young age and on rainy days nothing beats curling up in a secret corner with a good book.

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